12-2013 December

Ask Dr.Debbie

dec-2013Q: How can I check my dog’s temperature at home? Can I use my children’s forehead thermometer?
A: The most accurate method of measuring your pet’s temperature is with a rectal thermometer. Forehead thermometers are not reliable in pets, since they work by measuring temperature through skin and hair.

Auricular thermometers (ear thermometers) come in at a close second for accuracy in pets. But the presence of ear debris, inflammation and hair within the ear canal limits accuracy of ear thermometers, plus ear thermometers are more expensive as well.
A digital rectal thermometer is your best bet for your pet’s first aid kit- it’s inexpensive and reliable. It’s best to dedicate separate thermometers for human and pet use however.

Cold Weather Dangers
A winter warning goes out to our LMAH clients. Although Vegas doesn’t struggle with freezing temperatures, winter still brings some serious health threats to our pets, some which may be within the immediate home environment. In the last month, several LMAH pets died from these cold weather dangers.

Households using rodenticides, aka “rat bait”, may inadvertently expose their pets to a dangerous poison. Rodenticides are flavored products that are toxic to any mammal that ingests them. There are various classes of rodenticides with different mechanisms of action- some cause bleeding disorders, kidney failure, seizures or other symptoms.
There is no way to guarantee safe use these products if you have pets. Hiding the product in the garage or in the yard, doesn’t ensure a pet cannot discover it. These flavored baits attract the keen nose and interest of household pets.

Poisoned pets may display symptoms depending on the type of product ingested. Monitor for symptoms of bleeding from nose, coughing or vomiting blood, loss of appetite, increased thirst and urination, uncoordination and seizures. See your veterinarian promptly if your pet is ill, especially if a rodenticide has been in use in the home. Don’t wait to see if symptoms arise- symptoms may not be apparent for 3 or more days, and by then the toxin has already taken effect. Bring the package or name of any suspected toxins in the home.

Pool Dangers
We have seen two separate households suffer with the death of a dog after falling in the pool this winter. Death results from a combination of hypothermia and drowning. Elderly pets, those with mobility issues, and visually impaired pets are most at risk.
Install a pool security fence to block access to pool. Use pool ramps for easier exit. Invest in a pool alarm such as the Safety Turtle. www.safetyturtle.com A unit attaches to the dog’s collar and sets of an alarm inside the home if the collar is submerged.

Pet of the Month
Congratulations to our January pet of the month “Sheldon” a desert tortoise. You can learn more about Sheldon on our facebook or webpage.

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